Daily #F1 News and Comment: Saturday 24 August

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Drivers are over reacting 08:50

New Jersey is off… again 08:50

Hulk gets paid 08:50

Is there any truth in rumours Michelin will supply F1 with tyres in 2014? 19:39

Lotus money troubles, just does not want to go away 19:59

Why the Silverstone investment will keep Bernie onside 20:20

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Drivers are over reacting

During yesterday’s FP2 both Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel suffered punctures between turns 13 and 14. Drivers now want a guarantee from Pirelli that the tyres are safe to race on. Eddie Jordan though believes they [the drivers] are over reacting, “That’s an overreaction, but all the drivers are spoiled.”

Similar to tyre failures earlier this season Pirelli is adamant there is no structural problems and is blaming debris on the track for causing the punctures however Webber, outspoken as usual said, “We need answers. And ‘debris’ is not the answer“.

Saturday’s qualifying and Sunday’s race is set to be a damp affair so may just be Pirelli’s saving grace.

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New Jersey is off… again

The Grand Prix of the America, supposed to be held in New Jersey with the Manhattan skyline as backdrop is not going to happen in 2014. These are the words of our emperor Bernie Ecclestone. In an interview with CNN Mr E said, “It’s not on the cards for next year,” adding that the problem is “they haven’t got any money.

Back in May TJ13 reported on why the race would not happen and the challenges it faced… “Remember, the state of New Jersey has been promised by its Governor – the rather obese Chris Christie (in clip No.1) – that not a dime of public money will be spent on this project“. When Chris Pook was appointed a week later as ‘a special assistant to the Chairman’ with responsibilities to “provide consultation with respect to all aspects of construction, planning and execution of the Grand Prix of America at Port Imperial race.” TJ13 reported that this was great but, where is the cash…

Grand Prix of America spokesman Alex Howe insisted they expected the race would go ahead.”We don’t comment on financial matters but we are on track for 2014 and will have a statement following the announcement of the official 2014 FIA Formula One World Championship schedule“. Fear not, the first draft is expected at the end of August so the wait is short.

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Hulk gets paid

Yesterday TJ13 reported that Sirotkin has signed for Sauber. It now appears that this was the requirement prior to payments being made to drivers.

AMuS reported that Hulkenberg’s manager confirmed they have been paid. “We have the money” said Werner Heinz. He continued to say things are looking good at Sauber for the future.

With that in mind, after Kimi, Hulkenberg is just as sought after for 2014. Coming at a much lesser price tag than the Iceman, Hulkenberg is talking to Lotus and may also have options to go to Ferrari or back to Force India.

Three different engine manufacturers, which one will be best… Need a crystal ball Hulk?

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Is there any truth in rumours Michelin will supply F1 with tyres in 2014?

Last night rumours started doing the rounds in the Spa paddock that Michelin could become F1’s sole tyre supplier in 2014. Reports now claim that Michelin boss Pascal Couasnon will be meeting with Bernie Ecclestone next week and have already met with the FIA and Jean Todt.

When asked about Michelin being the supplier next year Paul Hembery said, “I can not comment, that’s a question for Michelin. Anyway, we took a number of contracts, and I would like to see them respected“. According to Speed Week Pirelli has signed supplier contracts with 10 teams and also have an agreement with Ecclestone (commercial) but we all know what the value of a contract is in F1. What is the worth of a contract when you are not the official FIA tyre supplier. Teams running on Pirelli tyres will be deemed illegal to race.

Hembery feels the tender process should have been done last year if the ruling body wanted to change suppliers. “If you wanted to do that then it should have been done in September of last year. Everybody will look ridiculous in that scenario.

Pirelli is well advanced in their development of their 2014 tyres based on the engine specification the manufacturers provided them with. Will Michelin be able to respond quick enough or have they also received a copy of the engine specifications and have been at work on tyres for 2014?

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Lotus money troubles, just does not want to go away

Raikkonen’s admission this weekend in Spa that he has yet to be paid all the money Lotus owes him yet again raised questions about their financial health. According to Gerard Lopez, owner of Lotus F1 and Genii Capital there is no problem.

When asked about their debt Lopez told AMuS “It is €120 million but four-fifths of it we owe to ourselves, to Genii, because we do not sponsor the team but finance it through loans“. According to Lopez he wants ensure that the team continues to be well funded to stay competitive and he is not concerned when they get their money back.

We continue to look for partners to join the team. It’s not about getting money back quickly now.” Lotus is looking for a title sponsor and does not want to commit to a ‘small’ sponsor for 4-5 years, they would rather wait for a big one.

Is this the correct approach though? Surely some additional income is better than nothing and regardless of who you owe money to, it is debt.

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11 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Saturday 24 August

  1. Hi John – just a quick observation…
    You have recently started listing news items ‘upside down’ – i.e. the ‘later’ stories come ‘first’… which means one has to ‘start’ at the ‘end’, where the ‘first’ story posted is found, then scroll ‘back’ two stories, to get to the ‘next’ item, and thus leap-frog one’s way ‘back’ to the ‘end’, which comes at the ‘beginning’, before moving to the first item again, at the ‘end’, in order to read the comments… which, mercifully, are in the correct chronological order… 😉

    • Good spot BJF… TJ should be back soon so normality will return 🙂 In the mean time, I will take note and keep the heading in order.

    • CTP – I am looking into it. So far all we have is ‘rumours’ that came out in the paddock last night. Given the tyre failures yesterday this is inevitable.

      Hembery initially said Pirelli would not entertain having competition in F1 however, when TJ13 asked him about this in a Pirelli phone in earlier this year, he did not deny it.

      We all know the ‘Silent Assassin” (aka Mr Todt) preferred Michelin and Ecclestone signed Pirelli. Todt has been working away in the background on a multitude of things and what we are seeing now is the fruits of his labour.

      Teams were asked to hand over all their engine specs to Pirelli to help them with their tyres for next year. Both Pirelli and the FIA got a fright when they saw Mercedes’ power and after Pirelli asked for larger rear tyres the FIA declined on the basis teams have already gone down a path of development for next year and it would prompt a massive increase in spend. Todt knows the teams and he played them to support him.

      Why do we keep the tyres the same as this year yet we are increasing the power and torque drastically? Is it because the FIA has been providing Michelin with the data necessary to make tyres for next year based on what we know now?

      Also, Pirelli came into F1 when testing was banned. Teams would not supply it with a current car because that would mean the tyres could suit one car better than others and that team benefitting from it.

      Next year, should Michelin be sole supplier or joint supplier in F1, testing is back so they can develop tyres at a higher rate than Pirelli could.

      Although Pirelli claims to have contracts with teams for next year, if they are not the chosen tyre supplier they will not be able to fulfil their contract. The only fly in the ointment is the commercial deal Pirelli has with FOM. But would you want to advertise Pirelli while all cars are shod with Michelin?

      The Silent Assassin has been busy indeed…

      As soon as I get more than what I have now I will put in a news story.

      • Michelin as sole tyre supplier for 2014 is an absurd premise given the development lead time needed to design and supply tyros for F1.

        This rumor appears to be a rather simple tool to apply pressures for some backroom negotiations.

        Given the quality of TJ13, it’s a little bit surprising to see this rumour apparently being swallowed hook, line and sinker here.

        If these conversations are happening now then the soonest Michelin would likely supply tyres is 2015.

        • I think it’s overstated how hard it is to make the tires. They’re round, black and hard. Just make them too hard to be safe, and you’re all set. If one of the world’s biggest tire companies can’t do that with their fairly recent – and also not so recent (80s / turbo era) history, I would be absolutely astonished.
          We only think its hard to do so if they’re trying to meet parameters like Pirelli were this year. The little one will ensure favorable conditions (I.e. conservative) for his fellow Frenchmen and the tires will be dull as ditchwater, just like the Bridgestone days.

          I totally agree that it could just be a negotiating tool though!

        • Hi VM. I think you’ll find TJ13 is not saying it is going to happen. It is exploring how it could happen should it happen.

          Considering how Jean Todt operates nothing will surprise me. Bernie is weak at the moment, his mind is on something else and this is the time to strike.

      • I’m afraid I don’t understand why Pirelli NEED separate contracts with the teams – if they are the chosen ones the teams are obliged to use them…
        If the contracts are for Pirelli stickers on the cars (and drivers…? or does that require yet more contracts…?) surely there must be a let-out clause: ‘Cars will wear Pirelli stickers for as long as Pirelli are supplying tyres’… or something…
        Am I missing something basic here…? Do I need a summer break…? 😉

        • If I recall correctly the top three/four teams get their tyres for free and the rest have to pay for them.

          The contracts Pirelli have with the teams don’t carry much weight if they are not the “chosen” ones…

          No summer break I’m afraid BJF 😛

  2. I’m unable to see why the commercial deal Pirelli has need be a fly in the ointment for a supplier change. To me that’s the easy bit…..

    • I would assume it has a tie in to the tyre supply deal. Will Michelin be happy with branding just in the cars and racing suits? Similar to Renault they won’t get a lot of recognition for it.

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